Sunday, January 23, 2011

Packers - Bears First Half Diary: This Aaron Rodgers Guy Is Good

The Packers win the toss, and RB/KR James Starts stumbles to the 16 as the Fox crew worries about the field. First play for Yellow is QB Aaron Rodgers looking dominant, with a 21 yard strike to WR Greg Jennings. Yellow likes it so much, they do it again on the next down, with the wideout making some men miss at the end to stretch it to 26. From the Bear 36, Starks rolls for six on a balls nasty run. From the gun, Starks for 5 as Rodgers takes a checkdown from the gun after making a man miss. Ye gads, the QB is trailing vapor right now. Play action to WR Jordy Nelson goes for 22 down the gut, and once again, that's just perfect. From the Bear 2 in a power formation, Starks gets a yard. With DT BJ Raji in for the power push, Rodgers keeps on a naked bootleg and just makes the pylon. Telling that they didn't just go for power there, but any 7 play, 84 yard opening drive for a score is a good one. Packers 7, Bears 0, after just four minutes.

A short and cowardly Yellow kickoff is brought back by reserve TE Kellen Davis to the Chicago 36, and in a big development, RT Kyle Clifton is down. For Yellow, which wins this game as long as their QB has time to work, that might be the worst possible injury, outside of Rodgers.

Forte for 2 on the ground, then 21 on a nice checkdown from QB Jay Cutler, who avoided pressure to make a big gain. They give it to the back again for two, and the check down on second, which is diagnosed and dealt with for just a yard. Third and long is a major mistake for the Bears QB, who misses the open WR/PR Devin Hester on a deep ball, high and away. With Rodgers looking like the best QB in the NFL, you can't miss opportunities like that, but the Bears do. Rather than try a 53-yard Robbie Gould figgie, Black sends in P Brad Maynard, who only gets it to the Yellow 16.

TJ Lang in for Clifton; worrisome for Yellow. Starks for 16 on the left as the Bears are losing at the point of attack; big play to change field position quickly. From the gun at the GB 26, Rodgers gets 10 from WR James Jones on a slant, and the QB is just not missing anything right now. Yards are 109 to 29 for Yellow. Starks for just one, and that might be the first good play for the Bear defense today. From the gun on second, Rodgers gives to RB Brandon Jackson on a slow draw, and it gets the full nine and the first. From their own 46, Rodgers goes deep and just misses Jennings deep, and the QB takes a nasty groin shot from DE Julius Peppers. First miss of the day for Rodgers. From the gun on second, the QB misses again on a deep ball to Nelson, and the WR pules for a flag that does not come. Nelson wasn't very open, but it's surprising when Rodgers misses anything right now. Third and 10 from the gun at the GB 46 sees the Bears bring heat from Peppers, and the checkdown to FB Jon Kuhn does not connect. Much better series for the Bear defense. P Tim Masthay keeps it in play to PR Devin Hester, who makes the first man miss, but not the second. Return of three yards, and the Bears will have it at their 16 after commerce.

Black starts with a false start. Forte for 3, then 6, as the Bears go with a nearly all-Forte diet. Third and six is a big damn deal, and from an empty backfield, Cutler is sacked by Jenkins for a loss of five in a play that looked just pitiful for the Bear line. LB Clay Mathews in on that as well. Maynard's punt to Williams is brought back to midfield, and Yellow is looking very good with less than three minutes left in the first.

Rodgers just gets it off before pressure to Jennings for 21, and that's the fourth 20+ yard pass of the quarter for Yellow. Wow. A give to Starks gets three to the right while taking forever. The RB gets another yard while running through three men; balls nasty? Yes. On third and six from the gun with Jennings back after limping off for a play, Rodgers is sacked by MLB Brian Urlacher, who gets through traffic for an 8-yard loss. Huge, huge play to keep this at just a one-possession game. No figgie now, and Masthay's punt is covered perfectly by the Yellow coverage team. With a Black flag, they'll start from their own 1. Masthay looks real good so far, and since he didn't kick at all in Atlanta, he's good and rested. (Do punters really get tired?)

Forte with patience in his own end zone gets 2, and that's the quarter. Long walk for both teams... and after the commerce, it's Cutler flirting with a safety before an awkward jump check down miss to Forte. Wow, that looked bad. Third and 8 with Shaky Jay pushes offensive coordinator Mike Martz to dial up another Forte run, and Jenkins nearly traps the back in the end zone for a 2-yard loss. Maynard's punt is muffed by Williams for a loss, and Yellow will start at the Bear 45, rather than inside of figgie range.

With the Bears moving pre-snap, Yellow jumps for five. First Yellow flag of the day. Starks gets two to the right, and that looked awkward. On second from the gun, Rodgers takes Jackson on a checkdown, and the RB toasts Urlacher for 16. Fox wants to excuse the LB with a field comment, but, um, nope. Starks for 13 to the left with all kinds of room, and he's looking like a borderline second-round fantasy pick next year. Ryan Grantwho? In the Bear red zone, Rodgers is perfect over the middle to a fearless Nelson, who takes a big hit from CB Charles Tillman at the Bear 4. Starks goes right and just reaches the goal line with his stretch, and that's his first NFL touchdown, assuming Yellow can get a PAT happen before a challenge in. None from coach Lovie Smith, and the Crosby PAT makes it Packers 14, Bears 0, with 11 minutes left in the half.

Short kick taken to the 34, and Yellow is doing everything to minimize Hester in this one. Cutler from play action has time to find WR Johnny Knox for 24, and that's a huge play to start to turn the tide. Cutler misses Hester on a cross, and the QB looked a little gun-shy on the backpedal and flat route. On a nice play call against a blitz, Cutler finds RB Chester Taylor in the flat, and the backup gets 12 and the first. From the GB 31, Cutler tries Hester in the end zone; the WR was open, but the pass wasn't close. Black is running a lot of play clock on this drive -- tentative? -- and it requires a Black timeout. Clifton back from the locker room. Cutler takes WR Rasheed Davis, but it comes back on a hold; Yellow tried a very delayed CB blitz on that play that looked too tricky by half. Big play erased. From the Yellow 41, Cutler goes for 10 yards and pain; no sliding today? Third and 11 is a big deal, and Cutler winds up moving early and getting just a yard before giving up. Maynard in, rather than try a 49-yard Gould figgie, and Black can't get it covered before the end zone. That's a net of 11 yards, and the second time today that Maynard failed to pin Yellow deep after a pretty conservative decision to punt. Smith is not impressing Bear Fan right about now.

A big Yellow drive could start putting an early end to drama today. From power, it's Starks for 10, and that's with the first defender who gets to him bringing him down. 14 to 3 on first downs so far. Play action, then a 25-yard run by Rodgers, who is plainly faster than OLB Lance Briggs right now. Wow. Starks stopped at the line, as Troy Aikman talks about how scrambles hurt a defense's heart, as if he knows anything about that. Rodgers to Jennings, who shies away from contact rather than diving for the sticks. Telling. Third and one from the Black is a big damn deal, and Rodgers takes a timeout. From power, it's Starks to the right, and Briggs ends it in the backfield. Like the Urlacher sack, a monster play and dodge for the Black defense, and for all of Yellow's success, they aren't confident in power formations. Masthay's punt checks up to the 12, and nearly touches a fleeing Hester.

With 4:17 left, Cutler from an empty backfield is nearly picked on a sideline fly to Forte. Floating back foot throw, dying quail, ugly. Cutler tries TE Greg Olsen on an out that looks TAInt, but it's too wide to be dangerous, and Williams is nicked for a defensive hold and first down. Black does not seem comfortable from shotgun. Another duck to Olsen is knocked down by the TE, as the QB is cracked by Raji at the end of the throw. Play-action draw to Forte works for 13, and that's a huge play, if only because it's likely to keep the ball from Rodgers before the half. Forte wide gets little, and Cutler's bleeding. From the Bear 30, a slow drop and Forte check down gets three; those passes just look dangerously pickable. Black runs clock all the way down to the 2-minute warning, much to Bear Fan's disgust. They've got a point; the Bears are playing a game where they are down by 14 as if they have a lead. And don't have a field goal kicker.

On third and seven with Rodgers looming, Cutler is sacked and stripped, and Forte recovers, but can't advance. Big loss, Yellow timeout, and the road team is looking close to dominant on both sides of the ball so far today. Maynard's fifth punt of the day bounces out at the Yellow 36; 42 yards of stress-free net. Rodgers will have 104 seconds and one timeout to end drama.

Rodgers for 11 after the coverage is good, and he's just making this look easy. A missed slant, then a gunned slant to WR Donald Driver for nine. Third and one has been trouble for Yellow, but not on a quick snap and sneak to Rodgers, which moves the sticks. A minute left on the Bear 41. Rodgers from the gun hits Driver's shoe, and the ball hops up to Briggs for a gift / miracle pick. What a break for Black...

Cutler to Forte for 17 on a cross; 42 seconds left, and a major momentum change is in the making. From the Yellow 41, Cutler tries Knox at the goal line, and CB Sam Shields reads the underthrow and makes the pick for a backbreaking INT. Great play by Shields, but had the ball been 5 to 10 yards deeper, that could have been a Black score. A booth review is a waste of time, but allows for more time with Fox's injury honk; yay! Both Fox idiots are overruled, and Cutler leaves early as Rodgers takes a knee. We're 30 minutes away from a Cheesehead Super Bowl; more later.

No comments:

Ads In This Size Rule